The oldest of Hollywood’s trade papers, Daily Variety, has a new owner today. The 107-year-old Variety was very slow to move into the digital age. For that reason, and poor management, it has been struggling for years and bleeding a lot of red ink. In its glory days of the 1990s, when circulation and advertisement were robust, the publication took in as much as $90 million a year, according to The Wrap. Now annual revenues are reported to be in the neighborhood of $45 million.
Inglewood-based Penske Media has finalized a deal to buy Variety, reportedly for a bargain price of $25 million. Penske Media is the owner of the powerful entertainment business blog/website, Deadline.com. Both The Wrap and Deadline are aggressive and very competitive rivals of Variety. When Penske Media purchased Nikki Finke’s Deadline in June of 2009, it was a game changer in the entertainment publishing industry. Deadline was a hot digital property with considerable potential. Penske Media grew the site and its brand until it has surpassed Variety as the most reliable source of entertainment business news in Hollywood. More on the deal on The Wrap and Deadline .